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Your sofa is one of the most expensive investments in your home, and not all sofas are created equal. We understand the difference between natural and synthetic fabrics. The two need to be treated and cleaned very differently to ensure your sofas longevity.

Natural Fabrics

Linen - Linen is best suited for formal living rooms or adult areas because it soils and wrinkles easily. And, it won't withstand heavy wear. However, linen does resist pilling and fading. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage.

Leather - This tough material can be gently vacuumed, damp-wiped as needed, and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap.

Cotton - This natural fiber provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It is less resistant to soil, wrinkling, and fire. Surface treatments and blending with other fibers often atone for these weaknesses. Durability and use depend on the weave and finish. Damask weaves are formal; canvas (duck and sailcloth) is more casual and more durable.

Wool - Sturdy and durable, wool and wool blends offer good resistance to pilling, fading, wrinkling, and soil. Generally, wool is blended with a synthetic fiber to make it easier to clean and to reduce the possibility of felting the fibers (causing them to bond together until they resemble felt). Blends can be spot-cleaned when necessary.

Cotton Blend - Depending on the weave, cotton blends can be sturdy, family-friendly fabrics. A stain-resistant finish should be applied for everyday use.

Vinyl - Easy-care and less expensive than leather, vinyls are ideal for busy family living and dining rooms. Durability depends on quality.

Silk- This delicate fabric is only suitable for adult areas, such as formal living rooms. It must be professionally cleaned if soiled.

Synthetic Fabrics

Acetate - Developed as imitation silk, acetate can withstand mildew, pilling, and shrinking. However, it offers only fair resistance to soil and tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade in the sun. It's not a good choice for furniture that will get tough everyday use.

Acrylic - This synthetic fiber was developed as imitation wool. It resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Low-quality acrylic may pill excessively in areas that receive high degrees of abrasion. High-quality acrylics are manufactured to pill significantly less.

Nylon - Rarely used alone, nylon is usually blended with other fibers to make it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. Nylon is very resilient; in a blend, it helps eliminate the crushing of napped fabrics such as velvet. It doesn't readily soil or wrinkle, but it does tend to fade and pill.

Olefin - This is a good choice for furniture that will receive heavy wear. It has no pronounced weaknesses.

Polyester - Rarely used alone in upholstery, polyester is blended with other fibers to add wrinkle resistance, eliminate crushing of napped fabrics, and reduce fading. When blended with wool, polyester aggravates pilling problems.

Rayon - Developed as an imitation silk, linen, and cotton, rayon is durable. However, it wrinkles. Recent developments have made high-quality rayon very practical.

Viscose - Structurally similar to cotton but may be produced from a variety of plants such as soy, bamboo, and sugar cane

Cleaning Methods

All sofa manufactures are required to use these simply coded guidelines. These codes are an important first step to ensuring that the right methods and solutions are being used on you sofa.

W - Water cleaning

S - Solvent-based cleaning

SW - Water or a solvent-based cleaning

X - Vacuum only

Synthetic fabrics are very resilient and allow us to use more aggressive solutions and hot water extraction. Natural Fabrics are much more delicate, they require more neutral-based solutions along with tepid water extraction to prevent water marks and browning.


Upholstery acts like a giant air filter, in that it picks up dust, dander, and other microscopic particles and traps them. Over time, these particles will become entangled in the fabric, discoloring it and damaging it as it is ground in further. Dry vacuuming is the first step to getting rid of it, using our powerful truck-mount vacuum system to remove any soils that are clinging loosely to the upholstery.

Pre-spray/ pre-conditioning

We employ a formulated pre-spray pre-conditioning that emulsifies the soil and separates it from the fabric’s fibers. This conditioner is gentle enough for use on most fabrics, though some materials will be too delicate. It is also safe enough to use around various types of flooring, avoiding damage to the carpet or hardwood.

Agitating the fabric

Once the pre-spray is applied, it needs to be pushed into the upholstery to reach its target. The use of gentle agitation, either with a horse hair brush or a tool that uses a brush attachment and slow movements. Gentle agitation also helps to shake matted-in soils loose, and will make it easy to pick up with a rinsing device.

Fabric Rinse

The soil has been suspended by now and only needs to be washed away with a rinse. Using an upholstery shearing tool‍‍‍ that runs a jet of water through the fabric and back into the extraction tool. It doesn’t use too much water and is powerful enough to rinse away suspended soil.

Fabric Protection

We recommend applying fabric protection to your sofa after each cleaning, this will help it resist future soiling. This substance is perfectly safe to use and will not harm the furniture or people in any way.

Service Areas

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About Tri-Valley Carpet Care

Phone (925) 944-7123





Walnut Creek



San Ramon

Pleasant Hill

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